Marmitta, Giacomo (1504-1561).
Rime di M. Giacomo Marmitta Parmeggiano. Parma, Seth Viotti, 1564.
4° (206x152 mm). Collation: A4, 2A-Z4, a-c4. , 198,  pages. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Woodcut animated initials and headpieces throughout the text. Contemporary (Parma?) brown, gilt-tooled morocco, over pasteboards. Covers within a broad border with an interlacing design and small floral tools, central shaped compartment built up with small tools, including circles, semicircles, and fleurs-de-lis, at the centre of the front cover the gilt lettering 'OVE HA VERA VIRTU SVO ALBERGO FIDO', and 'BEN CHE BASSO ET HVMIL VENIR M'AFFIDO', on the lower one. Spine with four raised bands, decorated with single gilt fillets, laid down. Gilt edges. Flyleaves renewed in the late nineteenth century, around the time the book was offered by Quaritch. A very fine copy, a few leaves slightly browned.
Provenance: the London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (see Examples of the Art of Book-Binding and Volumes Bearing Marks of Distinguished Ownership. Catalogue 166, London 1897, no. 397: “it should be a Parmesan binding with a motto”); Leo S. Olschki (1861-1940; ex-libris on the front pastedown; see Le livre en Italie à travers les siècles, Firenze 1914, no. 121 “Au milieu du premier plat cette inscription en lettres d'or: “Ove ha vera virtu suo albergo fido”, et du second plat: “Ben che basso et humil venir m'affido”, and pl. LXXXIII).
First and only edition, posthumously published, of Marmitta's collected poems, in a fine and unusual contemporary binding, likely executed in Parma itself. The mottoes stamped on both covers are unrecorded.
The publication is dedicated by the printer, Viotti, to the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, and by Marmitta's adopted son, Ludovico Spaggi, to the Cardinal Giovanni Ricci of Montepulciano, the poet's lifelong patron.
Giacomo Marmitta was born in Parma in 1504. At the age of twenty he moved to Venice, where he became acquainted with Pietro Bembo, Pietro Aretino, and Lodovico Dolce. In 1538, after spending time in the service of Marino Grimani, Patriarch of Aquileia, he was appointed secretary to the future cardinal Ricci. In Venice he also became a member of the Accademia della Fama, founded by Federico Badoer, as well as a close friend of Giovanni Della Casa.
A meeting with the Italian priest Filippo Neri in 1556 proved to be a critical turning point in his life. Neri encouraged Marmitta to follow a more retired life, and his poetry during this period undergoes a shift from secular to spiritual. Perhaps because of his late conversion, Marmitta never published his poems (see no. 124), although before his death a few rhymes had appeared in collective anthologies edited by various printers.
It was only after his death that his adopted son gathered his complete poetic oeuvre into a single manuscript. The 1564 publication is based on this manuscript and is divided into two parts; it contains 282 poems, most of which are sonnets. At the end is an appendix with sonnets written by others in response to the author. The rhymes, described by the printer as 'dotte e leggiadre' ('learned and graceful'), range in subject matter, reflecting Marmitta's early interest in love as well as the religious topics with which he was more concerned following his meeting with Filippo Neri.
Adams M-623; Gamba 1509; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 134.